Self-driving buses have arrived in Tallinn, which will start to run on the route from Viru Square to the Culture Boat, the center of Estonia's presidency of the EU Council. Buses are a test version of the technology of the future. Residents and guests of Tallinn can use self-driving buses for free, according to a press release.
Unmanned mini buses Easymile can be seen on the streets of Tallinn soon. Before that, the buses will have to undergo a control procedure and get permission from the Department of Highways. In the future, unmanned buses will be free to use for all people. One bus can accommodate eight passengers. The route will pass from the circle on the Viru Square to the Culture Boat. Each bus will have an attendant who will tell passengers about the new technology.
According to the adviser for digital technologies at the State Chancellery Valdek Laur, the sphere of self-operated transport is developing in the world very quickly. "The chairmanship provides an opportunity to demonstrate new technologies, as well as to inspire all kinds of development centers, enterprises and other organizations to cooperate. In a broader sense, we need to try to go through the process accompanying the appearing of self-operated buses in the city, from obtaining permits to the presentation of new technologies to the general public," - Laur said.
According to the head of the expert group Pirko Konsa, the introduction of the use of the technology of unmanned transport should be gradual, and today Estonia is taking the first steps. "At the same time, the potential of technologies for self-driving transport is great. Unmanned mini buses can, for example, be successfully used in areas with low population density," - he explained. Speaking about the advantages of technology, Konsa gave an example: "90% of road accidents happen because of human factor. The technology of self-driving transport is undoubtedly one of the ways to improve safety on the roads."
Expert of the Transport Development and Investment Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Johann Peetre stressed that Estonia is trying to help digitalization of transport and introduction of new, smart technologies in the transport field. "We know that in order to anticipate the future of technology, we need to create them. Easymile self-operated bus is the first step into the future. We hope that self-driving personal cars and taxis will be added to the buses, both in the cities and villages. We want Estonia to be one of the first countries to adopt new technology for self-operated buses," - Peetre said.
The delivery of self-driving buses from France is handled by DSV. Operating will be done by the developer of unmanned vehicles Milrem, which will train personnel and provide technical maintenance. Cyber security will be provided by Guardtime.
The partner of the project is Tallink, which will offer the opportunity to take a bus without the Tallink Shuttle driver to all residents and guests of the city. The financing of the project was also supported by Microsoft Eesti. The preparation of the route is the responsibility of the Tallinn Transport Department.